By Jeff Goins, Editor
A few weeks ago, Wrecked sat down for coffee with Chris Coppernoll, founder and host of internationally-syndicated Christian radio show Soul2Soul and his publicist Saul to discuss his upcoming book Providence: Once Upon a Second Chance, which comes out September 1 of this year. As a radio personality and singles minister, Chris had a lot to say about young people, culture, and God:
In a few sentences, who are you, and who is God to you?
I am a servant of Jesus Christ. I spent eight weeks as a seminary student my first course, examining everything in my life… and I came down to one thing that I am and that’s a servant. That’s when I’m most happy. I’ve surrendered my life to Jesus; I’ll do whatever he calls me to do. And I’ve got lots of vocations: deacon at my church, seminary student, host of radio show, author of books… I’m all those things, but overall, I am taking orders from God about what to do with my life. I’m a servant.”
We believe in the power of stories to activate people. How are stories powerful to you?
Inside the stories are the visions. When you tell the story, you go, “I see the possibilities for something that is different from what I ever imagined.” There has to be a sense of re-imagining, because we know the world is broken.
Tell us about your new book.
Providence is a story of a pastor who recruits college kids white, rich college kids to go into a black neighborhood and do urban ministry. And he inadvertently pens a book for fund-raising missions that becomes a phenomenal, best-selling book, and it transports him into becoming a national, religious icon. And that’s where the fun starts, because he is a private person [who] has made some mistakes in his past.
Those begin to come [in]to light, because there’s a media interest in his life, and there’s an interest in bringing down people who want to be carriers of light. It’s really a story about how God uses the mistakes of our past when we act in faith, when we act in obedience to bring races together, to help neighborhoods, to enlist college kids. Jack would do that just because of obedience, but God has more in store for him.
Who is the target audience?
I’ve got three in mind college students, singles, and readers of Christian fiction, which is an exploding genre.
Can you talk more about singleness in the church? What are some challenges for single people, and what are the freedoms?
The freedoms are you can get up and go any time you want. Your best friend can say, “Let’s go get grab breakfast” at 11pm, and you go out the door and go get breakfast. The challenges aren’t just the sexual issues. Men tend to isolate themselves that’s a national phenomenon. For women, they can sometimes feel like they need to make something happen. They’re more aware of wanting something in their lives, and they sometimes settle for less. God’s calling us to something profound and phenomenal. It’s in singleness that we learn to discipline ourselves to seek his will for our lives. He’s always about the business of undoing the knots in the rope of our life. We want a rope without any knots in it; we’ve got lots in there. Singleness is where we get to slowly take those apart, learning what he wants us to be, becoming the person we can never be in a relationship with someone else.
Are you someone who feels called to a life of singleness?
I’m hoping that God will have a person for me. I feel no control over the outcome of that… but I feel so close to the Lord. I just feel that it’s all going to work out. I really really do. And I really feel that singles can just care for so many people in a special way; I feel fulfilled. A lot of people look at single life as like they want to receive love from someone else that’s what they’re looking for. I think a single has full charge over the outgoing love.
We hear a lot of college students and twenty-somethings asking the question, “What is the will of God for my life?” What is the will of God to you and how do you explore that concept in this book?
Readers get to experience how God miraculously opens doors and changes what can’t be changed… and life becomes a journey that is an adventure. I think that’s how we’d define a great life. We want more than the ordinary. Sure, we’re wrecked for the ordinary’, but we’re glad for it. We don’t want ordinary; we want extraordinary. That only happens when we get a touch of heaven, the kingdom of heaven in our lives. Otherwise, life is shopping at the grocery store, cooking another meal, going to bed, and getting up another day there’s nothing else to it. So, I want to show people those things. It’s a fiction book, but the realities in the book are real. God answers prayer, God works in our lives, and it’s an awesome thing.
Can you talk more about the foundation you’ve started called Providence Cares?
A major theme in Providence is how people can help meet the needs of others. In my own life, I’ve watched friends grapple with the overwhelming costs of catastrophic illness when a child becomes sick. Most of us believe health insurance or a state agency covers treatment costs for health issues such as organ transplants and the life sustaining medications that follow they don’t. Families are shocked to discover they must raise tens of thousands of dollars on their own, and it feels like a Mount Everest-sized task. Providence Cares is one way for a family to raise some needed support in a single night. They host an event where I will come, speak, and sign books and 100% of the proceeds goes toward the family’s health care and expenses.
For more information on Providence Cares, families can visit providencebook.com and www.myspace.com/providencebook. Also, find out more about Chris’s book on Amazon: Providence: Once Upon a Second Chance.
Jeff is editor-in-chief of Wrecked. His favorite book is Where the Wild Things Are.